KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has dismissed Datuk Wasli Mohd Said's bid to strike out two new bribery charges against him to be heard here.
The court also shot down the prosecution's bid for Wasli to be tried together with the corruption case involving former Land and Cooperative Development Minister Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam.
This means Wasli, the former Sabah Land Development Board general manager, is facing seven bribery charges.
The two new charges accuse him of offering RM500,000 bribes to two board directors at Fairlane Hotel here on Oct 22, 1996.
Four charges, to be heard in Kota Kinabalu, accuse Wasli of giving bribes totalling RM1mil to the same directors – John Liaw Chee Shing and Michael Emban – as inducements for them to support the approval of the purchase of the board’s shares in Sapi Plantations Sdn Bhd by his trading company Syarikat Briskmark Enterprise Sdn Bhd.
Another charge accusing Wasli of bribing Kasitah with 3.36 million Sapi Plantations shares would also be heard in Kota Kinabalu.
Justice Abdull Hamid Embong, in dismissing Wasli's application, ruled that the charges were different as the acts of offering and giving monies stood separately and formed distinct and complete offences.
The charges, he said, also came under different jurisdictions – one in Kota Kinabalu and the other here.
He ruled out any elements of mala fide on the part of the Public Prosecutor in formulating the two charges here, saying he was satisfied with the prosecution's contention that the charges were formulated but were put on hold to await the outcome of the application to have the Kota Kinabalu charges transferred here.
On the joint trial application, the judge ruled that the two elements of continuity of action and common purpose were lacking in the charges faced by Wasli and Kasitah.
Kasitah's charges accuse him of abusing his position as Sabah Land Development Board chairman for financial gain and of deceiving the board.
“I have doubts about whether these two cases can be jointly tried and if there are doubts like this, the court is warned through preceding cases not to hold a joint trial,” the judge said.
“I also took into consideration the complicated statements and irrelevant testimonies that might arise out of a joint trial of these two cases.”
Wasli's lawyer Gobind Singh Deo and Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohamad Hanafiah Zakaria both stated their intention to appeal against the decisions.
“The court will wait for the Court of Appeal's decision before setting the trial dates,” said Justice Abdull Hamid.